In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

i6o China Review International: Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1998 6.For example, John M. Rosenfield, The Dynastic Arts ofthe Kushans (reprint, New Dehli: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1993), pis. 104-106. 7.For example, Banyue #^£3 (Dangyang Municipality "S-(^TfJ, Hubei), Mi (Yichang Diqu Bowuguan JËfitÈlM%fl, Dangyang-shi Bowuguan #Hiïfï[f$5il, "Hubei Dangyang Banyue Dong-Han mu fajue jianbao" Mlt^W^^nWMM^kMWi^, Wenwu 1991, no. 12:68, figs. 6-7). Jun Jing. The Temple ofMemories: History, Power, and Morality in a Chinese Village. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. x, 217 pp. Hardcover $29.95, isbn 0-8047-2756-2. During the Ming dynasty, four brothers surnamed Kong, who believed they could trace their ancestry directly to Confucius (Kong Zi), settled in Dachuan village in the Yellow River valley in Gansu Province. Their descendants, who today comprise 85 percent of the village's population of 3,300 (the others mostly arrived this past century), took great pride in their illustrious progenitor, and they developed elaborate lineage ceremonies that served as an organizational focus for their community . The revival of these ceremonies in the 1980s and the construction of an elegant new ancestor temple centering on Confucius form the subject matter of this conceptually sophisticated, beautifully written, and at times moving book. Jun Jing had first visited Dachuan in 1989 as a member of a research team from Beijing University and then lived there again in the early 1990s as a Harvard Ph.D. student in anthropology. His theoretical concerns revolve around social memory and self-identity. But it is not just the Kongs' memories of the prestige they had enjoyed before the revolution as Confucius' descendants, and the effort to revive that prestige, that have preoccupied Jing in his research. He became aware that the rejuvenated lineage ceremonies were not simply a recommencement of centuries-old practices; there was more at work here. As he tellingly notes in his description of the ceremonies: "These ideas and practices are not mechanically retrieved from the past; they are blended with cultural inventions , shaped by the local experience of Maoism, and permeated with contemporary concerns. . . . [T]he rebuilding of this temple had everything to do with the© 1998 by University Kongs' efforts to make sense of their troubled experience under Mao Zedong's ofHawai'i Pressru\e ancj ttie social changes of the post-Mao era" (p. 12). The Temple ofMemory interweaves into its narrative the story of the years of Maoist persecution. Jing tells of the early 1950s campaigns to destroy the organi- Reviews 161 zational integrity and influence ofthe Kong lineage, and he describes at particular length the tragedy that befell their village a decade later in 1961, when the Yellow River was dammed and a reservoir flooded and destroyed the village. The Kongs had not comprehended that a dam could successfully be built, and they had made no preparations to relocate their homes until the dam's floodgates were closed and the waters rapidly began to rise. They had to evacuate their homes in the middle ofthe night, salvaging whatever belongings they could. Resettled nearby on higher ground, with much oftheir agricultural land gone, they were forced to endure a new life ofpoverty (most were still living below the official rural poverty line in the early 1990s). The final humiliation ofthe Maoist period lay in the 1974 campaign to criticize Confucius, when the Kongs had to dismantle and hide what remained of their waterlogged ancestral temple at the reservoir's edge before the county authorities publicly destroyed it. The Kong ancestral rites were renewed in an improvised fashion by the village Party Secretary in 1984. Having been obliged to act as an accomplice in earlier times in the Maoist crusades against tradition, he was seeking to reposition himself in the new era. But he was ousted within a year by a group ofyounger villagers who had been leading a drive for compensation from the government for the destruction oftheir original village. Once in power, this group organized the construction ofthe grand new temple in alliance with a group ofelderly villagers. What both of diese groups shared in common were prior experiences ofpersonal humiliation and persecution under...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 160-162
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.